The armors of a medieval knight are one of the most popular collections in European museums. Among the many items, a full plate mail armor that covers the body from head to toe is the subject of fantasy for military maniacs. High-quality armors are mostly customized, boasting unique ornaments and details. They are also aesthetically outstanding. Armors for the king and princes had to have the elements of both strength and elegance for their parade effect.
The characteristics of royal armors differ from country to country. This journalist didn’t have the opportunity to touch German armors in person. The quality of the steel stands out thanks to the finest European craftsmanship, but their design was not so coveted. Some of the design details such as animal sculpts are a bit too shoddy.
French armors shine with rich and practical yet creative ideas, which is surprising given the country’s well-known penchant for beauty. In fact, Italian armors are the most surprising among the pack. Splendid ornaments across the helmet, the torso and the shield make one wonder if the golden armors were suitable for an actual battle or just a piece of art from a museum collection. The Italian armor is too luxurious to be worn for battles no matter how rich one may be.
Such doubt explains why I was shocked so much when I found out that the armor was used for real battles. Some of them were collected from the battle fields and displayed at a museum by their enemies. Or they are simply purchased for showcase. Either way it is hard to understand why Italian soldiers were made to wear such unwieldy armors.
Modern weapons are much more expensive compared to medieval war items. And the design plays a much bigger role too. Technologies for aircraft, tanks and rifles are advancing, and so is their design. Are we all becoming aristocrats? Perhaps, it marks the end of conscriptions era and a throwback to noble times when military service was perceived to be a privilege for chosen warriors.